An Angel's Duty
A few hours later, Anna's eyes fluttered open, and she felt the soft cloth of Michael's shirt pressed against her cheek as she breathed in his warm scent, and when she looked up, she saw him gazing down at her affectionately, his wings still wrapped around them.
"Michael…" she breathed softly.
"Feel better, Anna?" he asked affectionately, unfurling his wings as they touched back down on the ground.
She nodded. "Thanks to you, I suppose," she replied, and he leaned down to give her a soft kiss.
"Will you remind me why you are here again?" he sighed worriedly, his dark golden gaze meeting her azure ones.
"I made a promise to grant Vincent Phantomhive's last wish before he died," she explained. "I told him that I'd take care of his son, Ciel Phantomhive, and make him happy. That's my mission."
The angel shook his head. "But he already has a demon butler to grant his wish, must you be involved?" he pleaded.
"Michael, please," she sighed, sitting down on the bed, "be rational. You know that I'm not going to leave until I complete my mission. That's how it's always been."
He smiled, sitting down next to her as he wrapped an arm around her waist, kissing the side of her head. "And that's one of the reasons why I fell in love with you," he whispered into her ear.
As Anna was pressed against his chest, she felt the warm security of his arms around her, and she whispered to him softly, "I love you too."
"But I still can't help but ask; just why can't you just come back with me? Things are much less calmer here," he persisted.
She sighed. "What? Then when I see Vincent and Rachel I tell them, 'oh, I'm sorry, your son's soul was eaten by a demon and there was nothing I could do about it'? Yeah… not very likely Michael," she chided. "You know I'm not that kind of person, well… angel, rather."
He shook his head at her stubbornness. "You should get some more sleep to rest up, Anna," he advised, letting his wings fade as he laid her down onto the bed. "Regular rest should help ease your mind and body."
She nodded, sitting up. "But first, I think I'm going to change," she said, looking down at her torn maid uniform. "I'll have to get this mended." She headed to her dresser, pulling out a simple burgundy dress. Closing her eyes, she hugged the dress against her chest and her wings rose above her, enfolding over her before revealing her in the dress, the uniform in her arms.
"Very beautiful," Michael commented as she folded the uniform, placing it on her dresser before returning to lie down on the bed.
There was a light knock at the door and a smooth voice entered Anna's head.
Are you awake, Lady Anna? Sebastian implored her through telepathy.
"Come in, Sebastian," she called as she sat up, both angels turning to the door.
As the demon opened the door, pushing a trolley in with food on it, he smiled. "I thought you'd both be hungry," he said, Fang padding in behind them.
"Thanks, Sebastian," Anna replied gratefully, but Michael didn't seem too supportive.
"For a demon, his cooking is exquisite," Fang commented. "The fish he prepared for me was delicious."
Anna looked at the butler. "By the way, did you try the pastries I made?" she implored. "I'm sure there were plenty of leftovers."
He nodded. "They were delicious," he complimented, "as expected of such a heavenly maid."
There was a low rumble in Michael's throat protectively as seemed to loom over Anna.
"Don't worry, Michael," Fang assured. "He didn't poison anything or whatever you're thinking."
Sebastian smiled. "I've brought some smoked salmon for Michael with a side of mint salad, and since you mentioned before that you were slightly more vegetarian, I brought you a refreshing garden salad with a side of fresh fruit."
"That's sweet of you, Sebastian," Anna said, "I didn't think you'd remember."
He smiled. "I am, of course, one hell of a butler," he reminded, pulling out two breakfast-in-bed trays from the lower part of the trolley, placing their respective meals on them before serving it to the two angels, taking out two teacups and saucers while pouring in fresh Earl Grey.
"Mmm… this is delicious," Anna commented, "the lettuce is so crisp, and the tomatoes aren't sour. The amount of light dressing is just right."
Michael nodded, previously being a little suspicious of his meal. "The salmon is smoked to excellence, the smoky flavour goes through and through, and the salmon is very tender," he added. "Pretty impressive for a demon."
"Oh Michael," she sighed as Fang leapt up next to her, laying down on his stomach and paws next to Anna. She turned to Sebastian. "By the way, Sebastian, have you and Ciel been able to find any info on Lord Druton's son?"
The butler shook his head. "At the moment, the Young Master is doing some research on his own while I was sent to tend to your wishes," he said.
"Is that so?" Anna murmured, glancing outside her window to the skies. Unconsciously, her wings unfurled from thin air, feathers of the purest white falling from her wings.
"Anna?" Michael questioned softly.
Placing the tray on the side, she stood up, abruptly pulling towards the door. "I have to go," she said. "I sense… I have to go…"
She stumbled, sidestepping as she still felt weak from blood loss. Before she could collapse, she supported herself against the doorway before vanishing from their sights.
"Anna!" Michael called after her, "Anna, where are you going?"
Immediately, Fang dashed after her, and Michael and Sebastian followed close behind.
"Where is she going?" Michael demanded.
"Anna's heart has been summoned to grant someone's last wish," Fang explained. "As an angel, it's her duty to grant that wish, no matter what condition she may be in."
"But in her current condition, she proves as an easy target if she were to be attacked," Sebastian pointed out. "You stay after her. I'll alert the Young Master and chase after her immediately."
"But how will you be able to find her?" Michael implored.
The demon smiled. "Blood Contract," he said simply before turning into a different hallway towards where the study was while Michael and Fang chased after Anna.
The angel looked at the cat. "I can't believe Anna agreed to make a Blood Contract with that guy," he said. "What was she thinking? Why didn't you try to stop her?"
"I did try, Michael," Fang responded in defence. "But she wouldn't listen. She thought that it would help me find her if we ever got separated because of the demons hunting her. Not to mention the rebel angel Ash too. Sebastian might be pretty handy in a search or a fight."
Michael gritted his teeth. Why aren't I able to protect her? He cried out in his head in frustration. Why does a demon need to be relied on? I will protect the woman I love; I will protect Anna!
Sebastian Michaelis knocked softly on the door before pushing it open, looking at Ciel who was sitting at his desk, browsing through a stack of papers.
"I apologize for interrupting you, Young Master," Sebastian began, "but we have a situation."
"What is it, Sebastian?" the young earl sighed.
"It seems that Anna's angelic duties have been called forth, and she has vanished. But in her current condition, she is open for any attack. Michael and Fang are going after her now," he informed, meeting Ciel's fierce glare. "What are your orders? Do you want me to help bring her back?"
Ciel put down his papers, standing up. "We're going too, Sebastian," he said with a grin. "I'd like to see what these 'angel duties' of hers are."
Sebastian bowed. "Yes, My Lord."
Anna panted as she tiredly navigated through the crowded streets of London, knowing that Michael and Fang wouldn't be too far behind her.
She coughed, unused to the tainted air of London. Turning into a dark, empty hallway, she closed her eyes. "Time to fly," she murmured, her angel wings rising from her back with a soft silver shimmer before she took off into the air, the average human eye being unable to see her.
Flying towards where she found the source of the wish calling out to her, she discovered to find that her destination was the local hospital, where a young man lay in bed, his skin sickly pale, his dark hair brushed back off his sticky forehead. Anna flew through the open window and landed next to his bedside, tree leaves falling into the room on the floor.
The young man weakly blinked at her. "A-Are you the Angel of Death?" he whispered. "Am I dreaming?"
Anna shook her head, a tired smile touching her lips. "My name is Anna. I am an angel, and I heard your wish," she told him. "What is your name?"
"J-James," he told her, "James Kurt."
"I'm here to grant your heart's wish before I help you move on. What is it that you want?"
"Are you able to save me?" he breathed hopefully, and she shook her head.
"I'm sorry," Anna sighed, "but I cannot change your fate."
"Please then… I want to have a message sent to my fiancée," he rasped weakly. "I need her to know… that I love her… even though… I knew that she was cheating on me… but it was all my fault… because I… neglected her…"
"Is that all?" she implored. "You could just ask me to take you to go see her."
He moved his head as if refusing. "It would be too painful… for me to see her… like this…" he said, and she nodded in understanding.
Anna pulled one of the roses out from the vase beside him and it transformed into a piece of parchment and a feather pen.
Anna cut him off, placing a finger over his dry lips, and he felt the pain in his body melt away at her touch. She smiled at him. "It's alright," she told him. "Don't speak. Open your mind and heart to me, and I will write whatever you want to your fiancée."
The man nodded, thinking it wise not to argue with an angel. Closing his eyes, Anna placed a hand on his forehead, his thoughts and feelings flowing into Anna, which she conveyed down onto the parchment in flawless handwriting.
Outside, Michael and Fang stood up in the tree, watching as Anna helped grant the last wish of the dying man. Resting his palm against the trunk, Michael watched Anna with kind eyes, feeling nothing but affection for the beautiful angel. Fang sat on the branch, waving his tail back and forth. Below, Sebastian and Ciel just arrived, and Sebastian leaped both himself and Ciel to join Michael and Fang on the branch, watching Anna work.
"About time you got here," Michael commented crudely.
Ignoring him, Ciel glanced over at what Anna was doing. "So is this what an angel does? Grant the final wish of the soon-to-be departed?" he asked.
Fang nodded. "But not all angels do this. Anna is in a very special department that is in charge of handling the departing souls of this world. The Soul Reapers are one of the departments that work under them," he said. "Angels like Michael work in the more medical department, where they deal with healing the sick, healing wounded angels, just things involving healing and sickness in general. Then there are a whole bunch of other departments that takes care of different affairs of sorts."
"Hmmm…" Sebastian cut in, "Anna seems to be tiring out."
"Oh my… will she be alright?" Fang implored.
Michael nodded, his eyes not leaving her form. "As long as we're nearby and she's in our sights, we can protect her if someone tries to attack," he replied.
Anna set down the feather pen after signing it, and she looked at the dying young man. "I have writ it in your handwriting," she told him softly. "All of these feelings belong to you and you alone. Is there anything else?"
The young man shook his head, smiling at her. "T-Thank you, Anna," he sighed, closing his eyes for the final time as he died, an invisible transparent aura rising from the man's chest, disappearing as it floated up into the air.
"And that's all there is to it," Fang told Ciel and Sebastian. "But of course, not all of her requests are as easy as this."
"You may as well come on in," Anna called to them, turning to look at them in the trees. "I know you've all been out there."
Swiftly, they flew through the window as Anna gently brushed James Kurt's hair away from his closed eyes, touching his cheek for a moment kindly before standing up and folding the letter before tucking it away into her sleeve.
"Why'd you guys all follow me here?" she sighed, taking a step forward before collapsing, her wings vanishing as she was being swept into Michael's arms.
"We're worried about you, Anna," Michael said gently, turning her in his arms. "You're so vulnerable like this."
"Well… I'm thankful that you did," she murmured with a smile as she stood up with his help. "Thanks a lot."
Sebastian eyes darted towards the window. "Pardon me for interrupting," he began, "but I suggest that we should all get going. I sense a demon is approaching our location."
"He's right," Anna agreed, a hand resting on Michael's shoulder for support. "I can sense it too. We should go. However, let's head over to where James Kurt's fiancée lives before we head back to the Phantomhive Estate. I want to deliver his last letter before I forget. But just to be on the safe side, Michael, I need you and Fang to take care of the demon approaching. Sebastian, Ciel and I will go to Julia Hawthorne's place to deliver her the letter."
Sebastian plucked a rose from the vase, pressing the petals against his lips, and the petals swirled into a darker, purpling-black colour. He offered it out to Anna, and she nodded, and easily the butler tucked the dark rose into her hair, contrasting against the sleek silvery white.
"Take good care of yourself," Michael said, his eyes meeting hers.
"Take good care of her," Fang chimed, looking up at Sebastian.
She nodded, and he gave her a quick kiss on the forehead before vanishing out the window with Fang.
"Well, Sebastian? Ciel?" Anna addressed with a sigh, "Shall we go?"
Sebastian nodded, swinging her up swiftly into his arms. He smiled at her surprised expression before turning to Ciel.
"Young Master, shall we get going?" he advised, adjusting Anna's light weight in his arms.
Ciel nodded, and Anna looked up at Sebastian, wrapping her arms around his neck to keep herself propped a little more upright in his arms.
"Sebastian, can you recognize this demon's scent?" she implored him. "Is it at all familiar to you?"
He met her eyes and nodded. "I once hunted with him, he's a little like a vampire as well," he explained. "He can measure the pureness of a soul just by tasting their blood."
The angel blinked. "Well… I'll have to remember to be careful then," she said. "I've heard many times before that my blood is quite sweet. But then again, most angels' bloods are sweet to demons."
The demon smiled. "Yes, that is true," he agreed.
"Enough," Ciel said. "Let's go."
Sebastian smiled at his young master before swiftly carrying Anna out of the room through the window, and Ciel threw himself out, and Sebastian caught him easily after setting Anna down on her feet.
"Sebastian," Anna said softly, "Ciel will be needed to be well watched over. I can't risk Ciel's soul, especially when it's my own that is the target. No matter what, take care of him."
"Understood," he replied as she headed to the carriage, Ciel going with her.
As Ciel climbed into the carriage, Sebastian leaped up to sit at the head of the carriage, taking the reins.
"Anna?" he said, offering his hand out to her.
She took his hand and he pulled her up to sit next to him at the front. "Thank you," she said. "Let's go."
Tugging on the reins, Sebastian turned the horses around, leading the carriage to Julia Hawthorne's location.
"We're here, Anna," Sebastian said, looking at her.
She nodded, jumping down to the ground as she pulled out the letter from her sleeve, smoothly drawing the black rose out of her hair, placing it with the letter as she walked to the door, knocking twice.
The door opened to reveal a woman with dark red hair, a slender face, and deep green eyes.
"Yes?" she implored, "Can I help you?"
"Good day," Anna greeted quietly. "Are you Lady Julia Hawthorne?"
The woman nodded. "Can I help you?"
Anna looked at her sadly. "I regret to inform you of your fiancé, Lord James Kurt's, death," she told her. "He died just less than half an hour ago. I'm sorry for your loss."
"N-No…" she breathed. "T-That's impossible. I-It was just supposed to be a minor infection, wasn't it?" Tears were coming to her eyes.
Anna shook her head. "I'm sorry for your loss," she said again, offering out the letter and rose to her. "These are his last words to you. Rest assured, he went in peace."
Tears fell from Julia's eyes. "I-I truly loved that man," she wept. "I loved him with all my heart."
Very gently, Anna placed a hand over Julia Hawthorne's eyes, placing her in a hypnotic trance. "Everything will be alright," she said with a soft golden glow in her eyes, "He went in peace, and he is no longer in any pain. He forgives you for cheating, and he is sorry that he couldn't show how much he truly loved you."
As she withdrew her hand, there was a soft glimmer of remorse and guilt reflecting in Julia's eyes.
"Thank you," she thanked her quietly, sniffing. She closed the door as Anna curtseyed politely, walking away back towards the carriage.
Sebastian smiled at her, and she dipped her head, looking up to the skies as a warm wind blew against her hair, and Sebastian's eyes widened as suddenly an arm wrapped around Anna's waist, another winding around her neck covering her mouth.
"Anna!" Sebastian exclaimed, but it was too late.
Sharp fangs sunk into the side of Anna's throat and a dark aura fluttering around them both caused Anna's eyes to close as she was put to artificial sleep, collapsing into the demon's arms as he withdrew his fangs, licking the blood away from his lips.
"What is that creature? Is he even human?" Ciel demanded as he was about to step out of the carriage.
"No! Young Master! Stay in there!" Sebastian ordered strictly, leaping to face down the other demon. "Release the angel… Laurence."
"My my, if it isn't my old friend, Sebastian Michaelis," he sighed. "So you've become a butler now, have you, Sebastian." Biting down into Anna's neck, the opposing demon drunk deeply and when he pulled out, he licked his lips, smiling. "Well… if this is what an angel's blood tastes like, I wonder how delicious her soul would taste."
"Leave her," Sebastian said darkly. "She is currently employed under Earl Ciel Phantomhive."
Sweeping Anna's limp body up into his arms, demon Laurence Kingsley smiled at the angel with bright red eyes, a grin touching his perfect lips while the wind played with his long brown hair, tied into a neat ponytail.
"But even so, her soul is not tied to his as yours is through the Contract," he said. "And you have not claimed this angel's soul to belong to you, therefore, she is an open meal for any demon, including me."
Ciel glared at Laurence. "Sebastian, this is an order," he declared, "save Anna." No one takes my wish-granting angel without me saying so, he added silently.
"Yes, My Lord," Sebastian said, his eyes glowing demonically for a moment before he leaped towards Laurence, but the demon dodged his advance easily, gripping Anna's body tighter against him.
"Well… we've had our amusements," Laurence said, "but now, I will take my leave."
"No!" Sebastian hissed, but the demon disappeared in a silent explosion of smoke, Anna vanishing with him.
"That's a first," Ciel murmured. "You actually failed, Sebastian. Anna's gone."
The demon butler sighed. "That's one of his unique abilities," he explained. "He can vanish to anywhere he wants twice a day. Anymore and he'll exhaust his powers."
"Sebastian, Ciel!" Michael exclaimed as he and Fang flew over to them, Fang in his panther form. "Where's Anna?"
"She's been taken," Ciel responded. "I thought that you two were supposed to have taken care of him."
Fang growled, sharp canines bared. "He tricked us," he hissed acidly, "he told us he was going to devour Anna's soul, and then he escaped to here."
"Anna!" Michael growled, his hands tightening into fists. "I have to save her."
"We will," Fang hissed. "I can still sense her."
"Young Master, we're taking you back first," Sebastian said. "I'll go with Michael and Fang to go save Anna."
The thirteen year old shook his head. "I'm coming with you," he said.
"It's too dangerous," Michael said. "This demon is very powerful, and should not be tampered with; especially by a thirteen year old boy."
Ciel looked as if he was about to bark back a remark, but Fang cut him off.
"Please, Michael, we need to hurry," the feline said in agitation. "Anna may be running out of time for all we know. But for the moment, her heart still beats strongly."
Anna, Anna, can you hear me? Sebastian called through his head, but was greeted with no reply. Through the Blood Contract, he could still sense where her location was.
"Very well," Ciel stated. "Sebastian, send me back to the Phantomhive Estate before you go. And don't you dare return to the Estate without Anna."
Sebastian nodded. "Yes, My Lord."